Green laser pointers started as expensive novelties about seven years ago. Usually the laser pointers were purchased from China and imported, sold over eBay or purchased at a store reselling them here in America. Just recently a 24 year old named Justin Stouder found himself in a lot of trouble shining a green laser pointer at a police helicopter.
The video is provided below of Mr. Stouder having a great time flashing his green laser into the cockpit of the police helicopter over and over in St. Louis. A police officer was interviewed over the incident and tells the seriousness of the situation.
“It’s equivalent to a flash of a camera if you were in a pitch black car at night,” said St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Doug Reinholz, the pilot on patrol that night when Stouder’s green hand-held laser “painted” his cockpit. “It’s a temporary blinding to the pilot,” he said during a recent news conference highlighting the danger of lasers directed at airplanes and helicopters.
When watching the video, you might find it comical as the man running around in a bathrobe finally notices that cops are coming around in his neighborhood, he starts hiding. Unfortunately for Justin Stouder he was being tracked with infrared directly from the police helicopter he was harassing. The incident for him ended in him being swarmed by multiple police officers and taking him to jail.
If you ever get the urge to shine a green laser pointer up in the air, just remember, the light actually reflects in the cockpits of airplanes and helicopters. The light can momentarily blind pilots while in flight. For this reason the laws are pretty strict with interfering with aircrafts.
Federal laws make it a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for interfering with a moving aircraft. The law is being acted on these days as the rates of interference by lasers has risen dramatically in last few years. In 2009 there were 1,489 incidents from lasers that were reported by pilots and the rate was 2,836 the following year.
Things don’t look good for the future now either due to new powerful lasers hitting the market. A US company now manufactures the worlds brightest handheld laser called the Spyder 3 Krypton. The Spider 3 Kryton green laser is capable of shining as far as 85 miles and is around 8,000 times brighter than a direct glance at the face of the sun.
Anyone with $299 can pick up their own S3 Krypton from Wicked Lasers and own the Guiness Book of World Records holder. The Krypton S3 is so powerful out of the box that it can set fire to paper and matches. In case you keep the world’s most powerful green laser on too long, don’t worry, it has a built in microprocessor to turn itself off before it overheats.
The CEO of Wicked Lasers was interviewed by the Daily Mail in the UK and had this to say about his lasers:
‘If the laser was held using a highly stabilized mount (which we do not sell) and precisely in line with a satellite, the astronaut should be able to see a faint green hue,’ says Steve Liu, CEO of Wicked Lasers. ‘This kind of experiment would require explicit permission from that government’s space agency.’
Whether you decide to get the worlds most powerful green laser or not, the video below should clue you in that shining it in the sky could be a one way ticket to prison. What would you really do with a light that can shine 85 miles anyway?